Despite their rare loss chasing in the previous game against Mumbai Indians (MI), Gujarat Titans (GT) very much remain in the pole position to finish in the top two. They have a struggling Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) unit to contend with, who are potentially just one loss away from joining Delhi Capitals (DC) at the exit line.
A Sandeep Sharma no-ball allowed SRH win their first game in six attempts, but they are now back to square one after a thumping defeat against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). One of the few things that could work in SRH’s favour is the fact that GT have won just 50% of their matches at home this season.
SRH’s strategy and childish blunders perhaps cost them the game against Lucknow. The were forced to bowl Abhishek Sharma in the 16th over against the likes of Marcus Stoinis. As expected the match turned on its head and Lucknow cruised to a victory after taking 31 off that over.
Apparently, there was a mix-up with the team sheet and instead of having medium-pacer Sanvir Singh in the XI, SRH mistakenly named T Natarajan. However, the bigger blunder was that they roped in Vivrant Sharma, the leg-spinner as their impact sub and did not bowl him when Sanvir and Mayank Dagar were available. Puzzling, to say the least.
However, it’s a new day and SRH would hope that their fortunes will change.
Things to watch out for
Gill’s home form
While GT’s away from has not been particularly good, Shubman Gill has been the exact opposite. He has scored 303 runs at 60.6 to go with a strike-rate of 157 at home, which is terrific news for the hosts. However, he has to be wary of the deliveries that come in from the fast bowlers, given that he has been bowled thrice against such deliveries.
His battle against Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be interesting, given that the veteran fast bowler has dismissed him twice in eight innings, conceding at a strike-rate of just 83.
Gill, who is just 42 runs away from getting to 1,000 IPL runs for GT, has struck at just 109 against SRH, which is the worst against them after Ajinkya Rahane (106) among batters with 200 runs.
How are SRH going to negotiate Rashid Khan? They have the second-worst scoring rate against the spinners (RR 7.8) after Delhi Capitals (7.2)
The Purple Cap holder has 14 wickets (Econ 7.5) and eight wickets (Econ 9.3) at the death and moreover, he has been on top of both the left-handers (11 wickets at 13.9) and the right-handers (12 wickets at 19.9).
Not to forget, his variations have been on the money.
With the bat, he scored 79* off 32 - his highest score in the tournament in the previous game against Mumbai. It is by no stretch of imagination a one-off innings. Ever since switching to GT, he has shown immense improvement in the IPL.
SRH’s batting a worry
Individually, very few batters have gone on to get a big score on a consistent basis. SRH have had just six scores in excess of 50, which is the least this season so far. They are also the only team in the tournament that do not have a batter with 300 runs in IPL 2023. Even though Heinrich Klassen has been extremely good, scoring 262 runs so far, he has hardly found any support from other batters in the line-up.
The silver lining, however, is that they have improved their powerplay batting in the last four matches. The credit for that has to go to Abhishek Sharma (77 runs, SR 160), Anmolpreet Singh (58 runs, SR 138) and Rahul Tripathi (51 runs, SR 176).
In the six matches at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad so far, the teams batting first and second have won three matches apiece. However, the captains winning the toss have preferred chasing, having done so four out of six times.
The pacers have picked up 3.7 wickets per innings at an economy rate of 9.2 in Ahmedabad, while the spinners have picked up 2.3 wickets at an average every innings, but have been far more economical giving away 8.2 an over.
The average first innings total at this venue has been 187
Shami to continue troubling Tripathi?
With the form Mohammad Shami has been this season, GT would back him to deliver once again. However, he will be up against Rahul Tripathi, who has looked in decent touch in the last three games, playing brisk cameos.
Tripathi has been dismissed by Shami thrice in eight innings, scoring at an average of 11.3 and striking at just 117. Tripathi has also struggled against pace this season, having scored just 92 runs at 11.5 against them at a strike-rate of 113.58.
If GT bat first, they will have Shubman Gill in the starting XI but if they are bowling first, they might play Mohit Sharma ahead of him with the batter coming on during the chase.
GT probable XI: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill (IS), Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Noor Ahmad
SRH will hope they do not make a blunder like they did against Lucknow in the previous game. We would see either Vivrant Sharma or Sanvir Singh come in as an impact sub at some point.
SRH probable XI: Abhishek Sharma, Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Aiden Markram (c), Glenn Phillips, Abdul Samad, T Natarajan, Mayank Markande, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Fazalhaq Farooqi